By Ugonna Okpalaoka, student, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University
A new start-up out of San Francisco is making it easier to juggle all your accounts across the web.
If This Then That, or IFTTT, was launched a little over a year ago. It’s as simple as its name suggests but its potential is what makes it stand out.
Many social networks have introduced the option of cross-sharing material. Sites like Twitter, for example, let you post your tweets to your Facebook timeline. IFTTT takes things one step further by letting you connect and manage over 30 web services like YouTube, Tumblr, Craigslist and LinkedIn, in one place.
So how does it work?
Let’s say you want to be notified every time someone tags a photo of you on Facebook. You would need to plug that request into the IFTTT formula, or what the site calls a recipe, so it reads:
IF I AM TAGGED IN A FACEBOOK PHOTO, THEN SEND ME A TEXT MESSAGE.
And that’s it. Now every time someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, you’ll receive a text message notification.
Of course, if you have a Facebook application on your smart phone, this may not be all that impressive to you. The impressive part is how this simple recipe lends itself to a wide range of possibilities.
The website provides an index of user-submitted recipes where people have come up with some pretty creative ways to use If This Then That.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Sync your social profile pictures.
- IF MY FACEBOOK PROFILE PICTURE CHANGES, THEN UPDATE MY TWITTER PROFILE PICTURE. (link)
Find out if it’s going to rain tomorrow.
- IF IT’S RAINING TOMORROW, THEN SEND A TEXT MESSAGE (link)
Greet a new Twitter follower.
- IF I GET A NEW TWITTER FOLLOWER, THEN POST A NEW TWEET (link)
Then there’s my personal favorite for those awkward situations you may find yourself in:
Text to escape.
- IF I SEND A TEXT MESSAGE TO IFTTT, THEN IFTTT CALLS MY CELL PHONE. (link)
IFTTT is a great way to streamline your Internet activity and its capabilities are sure to grow as more people join the site.
So NABJ, how do you rate this service? Do you think it can be useful? And if so, how would you use it?